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Thread: Removing the Ram Slop from a Harbor Freight 20 Ton Press

  1. #1
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    Default Removing the Ram Slop from a Harbor Freight 20 Ton Press

    A lot of Harbor Freight metal working tools need improving right out of the box to make them precise and accurate implements. I consider the effort much like building a Heathkit electronic device from years back.

    Funny thing... One gets to the point in their DIY career where they spend more time building and modifying tools rather than using them.

    The goal of this effort is to configure the press ram with gibs to bring a horrible amount of slop down to zero.

    Today's effort was just idea sorting out and template creation with cardboard standing in for metal and the hot glue gun substituting for the welder.

    The bracket will eventually sport stubby bolts pushing gib plates against the press frame removing the ram slop.

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  2. #2

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    Looks like a good fix.
    Lincoln A/C 225
    Everlast P/A 200

  3. #3
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    Steel pieces cut. The gib sections are in the middle. The end plates are on the right and will require four bolt holes to be drilled. I'll stack and clamp them drilling all at once.

    The two plates on the left are the center span. They too will need to be drilled. In addition, they'll need to be put in the bending brake for a 90 degree formation.

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  4. #4

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    I may do the same to mine. I changed my ram to a 20 ton air/hydraulic and added a round handle to the valve but haven't done anything about the slop.
    2013 250EX : SSC Pedal : I-MIG 250P 20' Profax gun : Power Plasma 60 p80 torch : 3M Speedglas 9100XX : Evolution Rage 3 DB cold saw

  5. #5
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    Photo #1. Stacking the end and middle sections for drilling.

    Photo #2. In a burst of late evening energy, I rode the bicycle to the hardware store to pick up the gib screws/bolts.

    The bolts are currently installed with nuts on both sides of the plate. I will be welding the nuts to the steel plate on the bolt head side. This will provide the necessary depth-of-thread for the bolts to perform their gib duties.

    If the weather isn't non-stop thunderstorms tomorrow, welding will be the effort of the day.

    Anal fabrication... When you align each and every nut to be welded so that one of its corners is pointing vertical in relation to the part's expected finished position.

    Photo #3. The 20 ton press and SWAG Off-Road bending brake helping to make the hardware. The tool improves the tool.

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  6. #6
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    Photo #1. Removed 20 ton press angle iron guides.

    Photo #2. End of ram bar after removal of angle iron guides.

    Photo #3. Cutting disk clearance for angle iron removal required grinder guard removal. Face in line with the plane of the cutting wheel mandates a face shield.

    Photo #4. New gib brackets welded up awaiting bolt hole drilling in press ram.

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    Last edited by fyidiy; 07-13-2017 at 04:21 PM.

  7. #7
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    Looking good. Here's a tip, instead of going clamp city for drilling the holes, just put a couple of tacks at the edges then grind off when done. Easy access and no worries about slipping.
    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

  8. #8
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    Factoring in the time to tack and clean up with the grinder made the decision a wash in this case.

    More time was spent changing out drill bits working up to the final hole diameters.

  9. #9
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    The 1/2" mounting holes in the press ram bar drilled and brackets installed for a test fit. The washers are acting as shims/spacers.

    Now, to work on the gib plates.

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  10. #10
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    Photo #1. Gib plates with keepers welded up. The keepers were fabricated out of 3/8" iron pipe.

    Photo #2. Gibs installed. Two are visible in the blurry photo. There are three gibs per side.

    The slop is now completely gone from the press ram! Of course, I'll have to try it under a press load for a full test. An extremely nice upgrade.

    Everything will get disassembled, cleaned up, and painted.

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  11. #11
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    Photo #1. Let's tart you up with some red lipstick.

    Gib components red, the original press ram repainted with Harbor Freight orange.

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  12. #12
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    You might want to add some self adhesive UHMW to your gibs, it will help make it slide smoothly and help to keep your paint looking nice, without having to grease everything up.
    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

  13. #13
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    The UHMW is a good idea!

    Thanks.

  14. #14
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    A roll of 1/32"x2" UHMW ordered. The gibs and sliding surfaces will both get treated.

  15. #15
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    Over the last week I've cleaned up all the digs in the paint of the support columns from the previous sloppy ram setup. Any exposed metal was sand blasted, primed, and finish painted. Today I knocked all the gib sliding surfaces of the press down to smooth with the orbital sander.

    Now, it's just waiting on the UHMW roll to show up.

  16. #16
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    Gingerbread finishing complete!

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  17. #17
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    YouTube Video of press with gibs installed.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6zGj9avKIQ&t=67s

  18. #18
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    First use of gib-equipped press, the crushing of a spin-on oil filter.

    Once crushed and squeezed of oil, the lump of steel can be placed in the recycle bin for the weekly curb-side trash pick up.

    Nice!

    The lack of ram slop has made this operation extremely easy and smooth. No more excessive effort to center the wobbly sloppy ram!

    Click image for larger version. 

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  19. #19
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    If I was to do this project on another Harbor Freight bearing press, I'd skip the bracket anchoring bolts, washers, and drilling in favor of just welding the additions to the ram directly. The thought process was, at the time, the bolts and washers would allow for mounting alignment flexibility.

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